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Community Links High School

First Year Biology

2015-2016 Syllabus

Instructor:  Mr. Sidarous


Teaching schedule: 3rd and 7th period

We will meet in room 203 at the Boys and Girls club. If we use another room, such as a computer lab, we will meet in our classroom and walk there together.

Course Standards (Next Generation Science Standards):

  • HS-LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

  • HS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • HS-LS3 Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits

  • HS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • HS-ESS1 Earth's Place in the Universe

  • HS-ESS2 Earth's Systems

  • HS-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity

Course Description:

CLHS Biology is a class with many components, including a focus on reading, writing, lab practices and biology content. Students will learn about biological phenomenon while developing science and engineering skills. We do not use a textbook for this course, but there will be frequent online readings required; print copies are available by request.


Course Objectives:

Students will be able to:

  • Understand the major biological concepts

  • Understand the role, place, and interactions of humans in the biosphere

  • Appreciate the diversity of living systems

  • Demonstrate mastery of the process of scientific inquiry

  • Use cognitive skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and ethical analysis

  • Understand that science is a way of knowing and technology is a way of adapting

  • Understand the personal, social, and ethical implications of biology and biotechnology

  • Use educational technology as tools for learning


Materials needed daily:

  • Pencil and pen

  • 3 Ring Binder (You can bring one of your own, or Mr. Sidarous will sell you a binder for $1)

  • Loose leaf paper (You can bring your own, or Mr. Sidarous will sell you paper for $1)

  • Student Planner


Students will be required to use the school’s website ( during the class. Through the website, each student will receive an account, which gives them an email address, a personal calendar, a space to work on documents online, a space to create a personal website, and other functionality. Additionally, the course calendar and assignments will also be available on the website on the Biology page. Mr. Sidarous will train students in computer use as well as use of the website in class, but some work must be done outside of class, including online lessons and assessments. If a student does not have access to the Internet at home, they may use the school’s computer laboratory before or after school. Additionally, the Chicago Public Library has free computer access.


Homework assignments are intended to reinforce the concepts learned in class and prepare students for examinations. Assignments may be turned in one day late, but 50% will be deducted for turning in the homework late.  After one day, no late work will be accepted. Late homework will always result in an after school detention to be served that day. Students with unexcused absences will receive a zero for any assignments due that day. Students will do their homework in a binder which must be brought to class every day. Some assignments will be done in groups of 2 or 4; however each student is responsible for completing his/her own homework, in his/her own words. Any two laboratory entries with identical (word for word) entries will not receive credit for the assignment.



The units we will be studying are as follows:

Unit 1:      

Nature of Science & Life



Unit 2:      

Structure & Function in Organisms



Unit 3:      

Energy & Matter in Organisms



Unit 4:      

Populations & Interactions



Unit 5:      

Human Impact



Unit 6:      




Unit 7:      





The quarter grade will be determined using the following percentage breakdown:

Mastery: 50%     

Homework: 15%            

Participation: 15%     

Growth: 10%     

Final Exam: 10%

A = 100% to 90%

B = 89% to 80%

C = 79% to 70%

D = 69% to 60%

F = 59% and below

The quarter grade is determined by totaling all the points in each grade category and dividing by the total points possible. Keep in mind that each category is weighted using the percentage breakdowns given. For the participation grade, each student will be evaluated as to their attendance and their involvement in the class. If a student comes to class each day with no unexcused absences or tardies and participates in class discussions, they will receive all of the participation points. Students will lose points if they do not have their homework, disrupt the class, are tardy, or cut.  Unexcused absences will result in an automatic zero for the day as well as for any homework due that day.  Students may earn extra participation points through exemplary work and effort.


Mastery grades are a system of grading students based on their demonstrated level of mastery of concepts (“Essential Skills”), rather than just calculating an average based on the total number of “points” they earn in a semester. It measures demonstrated student learning, not speed of learning. At the beginning of every unit, the teacher will break down the standards for the unit into smaller objectives and criteria using a detailed rubric. During the unit, the student is assessed to see if they truly know the material using a variety of assessments, such as traditional pencil-and-paper tests, projects, discussions, or reports. The class grade will be based on all of the evidence the teacher collects demonstrating mastery of the essential standards. The goal of this approach is to provide the teacher, student, and parent as accurate a picture as possible of the student’s learning and to encourage a dialogue about how the student can master the material for the class. In particular, because learning is a process that takes place over time, each assessment will provide feedback for the student about what to focus on next, and the student will be allowed to retake assessments. If the new assessments shows a higher level of mastery, that new score replaces the old one.


The honors option is intended to provide students with extended learning opportunities within a course of study. These opportunities are independent study tasks that provide additional depth of content, advanced concepts and a chance for more authentic applications of skills and knowledge. The honors option is also an opportunity for students to begin thinking and working on their college interests.  If student does not meet the requirements established at the beginning of the semester, students will not be given the honors credit and the honors course designation will not appear on their transcripts. In addition, students must maintain at least a C average in their assigned class to stay within the honors tract. Successful completion of the honors option in a course is designated on the student’s transcript. Also, keep in mind that the honors option designated grades carry different values for calculating grade point averages.